Monday, August 18, 2008

Local diet update - August 18, 2008

Happy Monday!

Last week was a GREAT week. Not only was the eatin' good at the SGF household, but it also marked my last days of paid employment. I'm officially retired (for now, anyway)!

So let's see. Needing a little encouragement to get through the week, Tuesday I decided to try a new bread recipe. Yeah. Looks good, doesn't it? This was the first time I've tried challah (here's the recipe from Baking Bites blog). I've always loved the taste and, of course, braided breads are gorgeous. I had to change the recipe a bit. I added quite a bit more flour than the recipe called for until I got a good consistency in the dough and it had a 30 minute bake time that was WAY too long (so the bread was slightly overdone), but I'll correct for the bake time in the next loaf. And there WILL be a next loaf. This is a delicious bread! Some days I would just tear off a piece to eat with a bowl of soup, other days, I'd make a thin slice for toast, and on Sunday, we used it to make french toast (local eggs, local milk, and homemade challah). French toast. Mmmmm...

On Thursday (in preparation for my last day at work Friday), I whipped up a batch of High Tea Lemon Cookies (recipe here) to give to my boss as a sorry-I'm-retiring-but-here-are-some-cookies gift. These cookies mark the first time I grated lemons for zest. I was pretty proud of myself! I packaged the cookies using the top of a plastic salad container from one of my favorite restaurants and a ribbon from last Christmas (no, I don't throw anything away if I can help it). I thought it turned out really nice.

Anyway, Friday was not only my last morning at work (yeah!), but after I returned home, I made a large casserole dish worth of homemade baked mac-n-cheese (milk and cheese were local) for Dave's dinners over the next few days. Friday also included a trip to pick up fresh milk from the dairy. We're starting to get low on cheese so I ordered a pound of gouda for next week's pickup.

Saturday, being farmers market day, is the most exciting day of the week for me. Time to reload goodies into the fridge as well as to catch up with friends. Dave joined me Saturday morning as I made my rounds to each of the vendors. As usual, I ended up with more than I can eat (but it looks so good...), but what I can't eat this week will spill over into next week. Nothing gets wasted in this house!

As you can see, I picked up a nice big bag of fresh green beans, 3 zucchini, 2 bags of spinach, an eggplant, a yellow onion, a bag of red potatoes, 2 dozen eggs, and 2 jars of Dr. Pepper jelly (hubby loves DP and we just had to get some!). The peaches (local, from Mexia, TX) came from a quick post farmers market trip to Farm Patch. On top of the locals I already have at home (milk, cheese, more spinach, purple onions, mushrooms, a scalloped squash, and all the tomatoes and soup I've canned), we'll be eating well this week. 

The green beans were steamed on Saturday to go with Dave's mac-n-cheese; the potatoes and onion will make a new batch of potato salad; the spinach will turn into more of that spinach and rice I made a few weeks ago; and the zucchini and eggplant will be roasted in the oven and made into roasted veggie sammies (homemade yogurt rolls, toasted gouda cheese, topped with lots of thick roasted veggies slices). Mmmm. Oh, and lest I forget, I also whipped up two loaves of pumpkin bread and a batch of yogurt. Now that I think about it, it was a busy Saturday.

More exciting than anything, now that I'm no longer working, I have more time to bake new breads, to cook more meals, to explore new recipes, to can more goodies, and to grow more of our own food. I may no longer be drawing a check from formal employment, but I have a feeling that the adventures to come will pay in health and happiness in ways a paycheck never could.

Happy (and mindful) eating!

P.S. If you're interested in seeing what other farmers markets are like around the country, check out The Farmers Market Report at the To Every Meal There is a Season blog.

13 comments:

ib mommy said...

Happy Retirement! On to new adventures...... I suspect soon we'll be seeing photos of the veggies you're growing:) How's the basil?

Oh, and my pick for the car name today is Puddin'.

Beany said...

Happy retirement! Good idea re: the cookies. I'm going to bake some as well. The last time I did, everyone loved it (chocolate chip cookies).

Abbie said...

Good for you! I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy my summers when I'm not working (even though I do work a little at my family's farm market, it's not like working full time). You will be able to get out and enjoy beautiful days, spend time doing what you love, can can can and cook! Not to mention the stress is gone...
I'm off to enjoy my last week of vacation!

Bobbi said...

Happy Retirement! One door is closing - another door is opening!

Green Bean said...

Congratulations on your newly retired life. :) Now, can you please come bake some bread over here?

Heather @ SGF said...

ib mommy - Thanks! Actually the basil is great. It won't be long before I'm posting about it as I'm getting close to harvesting off it for the first time. It's VERY exciting! Puddin' is super cute! Keep the suggestions coming :) I like the food names!

beany - We're big choc chip cookie fans too, but I love trying new cookies from time to time. These are definitely Heather cookies and not Dave cookies so I'm glad I was able to give most of them away. But the rest are all mine :)

abbie - I'll definitely be doing more cooking and canning. I'm so excited about it. So what do you do at the farmers market?

bobbi - I agree. A whole new world of exploration!

green bean - any time! :) What's your favorite?

Abbie said...

Our farm market is a little different from what you may call a farmer's market. It's a permanent store where we sell our produce. Whatever we're growing, plus other local farmer's stuff. We also sell pies and ice cream, do hayrides around our farm, apple and berry pick your own, etc. I do a little bit of everything... In the summer I open the store, so I get there early to bake pies, cookies, breads (not all from scratch, thank goodness!), set up the produce and ice cream shop. I wait on customers, stock, bake, make ice creams, etc. during my shift as needed! I know it's a lot, but we all do a little bit of everything, whatever's needed. In the fall when I'm back at school, I mostly work as a cashier in the pumpkin patch on weekends, which is a full time job. AND>>> very exciting, we're bringing back our HAUNTED HAYRIDE this year, for the two weekends before Halloween. We haven't done one of these in 10 years, and we stopped because it just got too big for our little farm to handle, with parking and time and police needed. But we're hoping that the time off will have calmed it a little. So I'll be dressed up loading wagons! Not sure of my costume yet...

I know that was a long answer, but you asked for it! Haha!

Heather @ SGF said...

Abbie - Wow! Sounds like a really awesome place! You're very lucky!

Abbie said...

Heather- If you're interested, here's our local harvest page: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M21333

Heather @ SGF said...

Abbie - The list of produce is amazing! What a wonderful place to live and work. I just don't know if I could handle the winter. But for all those goodies? Hmmm...

greeen sheeep said...

Congratulations on your retirement! I did the same thing two years ago and it opened up a whole new world of volunteering and simple living for me. You will be for more rewarded than a paycheck could ever bring.

Your baking posts are what introduced me to blogs (yours was the very first blog I read!), led me to the wonderful group of greenies you are connected with, and ultimately to starting my own blog - greeen sheeep. Your bread pictures always inspire to make more goodies from scratch. One day I may even be bold enough to bake bread!

Looking forward to more now that you are retired. Best Wishes!

Heather @ SGF said...

greeen sheeep - once you make your first loaf, you'll be hooked. It's amazing how easy it is once you know what you're doing and it's so much fun. Be brave. Give it a shot (even the mess-ups taste good) :)

Kerry said...

Thanks for your submission to the Farmer's Market Report! I'll have the next Report up at 10am on this Sat. - Aug 23rd. Hope to see you again!